Retired Joiner Makes Emotional Appeal For Ex-Colleagues To Come Forward

Hexham Man Appeals For Help


A retired joiner who has been diagnosed an aggressive cancer of the stomach lining caused by exposure to deadly asbestos dust is appealing for his ex-workmates to come forward to help in his battle for justice. 

Leslie Waters, from Allenfields, Allendale, Hexham, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2011. He is appealing for his ex-colleagues to come forward and help shed light on how he came into contact with the lethal material in several of his previous workplaces.

Isobel Lovett, an asbestos expert in the Newcastle office of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who is representing Leslie in his legal battle for justice, explained: “Throughout the course of his employment Leslie was never warned about the dangers or working with asbestos nor was he ever provided with breathing equipment which could have protected him.

“Through no fault of his own he is now living with a terrible disease and I’d urge anyone who can shed any light on conditions at any of Leslie’s former workplaces to get in touch . Even better if anyone remembers working with Leslie please let us know.”

One place of work where now 84-year-old Leslie came into contact with asbestos was at Swan Hunter at various points between 1948 and1950 where he worked as a ship's joiner making furniture and on pipe fittings.  Leslie remembers a time when he would cut wood to fit on the pipe flanges in the engine rooms whilst laggers sprayed asbestos onto the bulkheads.

At various points between 1949 and 50 at Waring and Gillow he again worked as a joiner onboard ships and was exposed to asbestos by laggers who were working in close proximity to him.   At various points between 1961 and 1963 Leslie worked at John Readhead & Sons Ltd as a ship's joiner and again came into contact with other workers who used asbestos including the ship's laggers. 

And at points between 1962 and 1963 he worked for Joseph Thompson & Co Ltd - a contractor to John Readhead & Sons Ltd - where he was exposed to asbestos in a similar way.

Commenting on his ordeal since his diagnosis devoted husband, dad of 2 and grandad of 3 Leslie said: “All my life I’ve loved to sing – I was even on Stars In Their Eyes once as Bing Crosby. 

“Before I got ill, me and my wife Maureen used to enjoy regular holidays to Blackpool about three times a year when I used to sing alongside a keyboard player in the holiday hotel that we always stayed in.  We used to go on bus holidays to the Peak District too and I was a member of a walking club that I used to attend every Thursday.

“I can’t do most of the things I love since my diagnosis because of all the GP and hospital appointments and because I feel so unwell.

“To know simple steps could have been taken to prevent my illness is hard to cope with. I’d urge anyone who could help us to learn more about conditions at the places I used to work at to please come forward. ”

Anyone with information should contact Isobel Lovett on 0191 2790104 or email

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